Last month, LL appeared to catch Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans feuding with Wikipedia editors over his own page on the site. The Wikipedia user certainly acted like the actual Evans, quickly moving to delete unflattering references to his failed mayoral campaign and his “Jack PAC” scandal.
Still, even as Evans’ Wikipedia doppelganger racked up editing bans, it was hard to prove that Evans was behind the edits after his office declined to comment for LL’s story. Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, though, LL can now definitely say that Evans was behind the Wikipedia whitewash.
Emails obtained from Evans’ D.C. Council email account show him receiving messages from Wikipedia whenever a user sent a message to “Evansjack1,” Evans’ username on the site. They also show Evans responding to what he apparently didn’t realize was an automated Wikipedia email account that doesn’t accept replies.
Tom Lipinsky, a spokesman for Evans, declined to comment.
“I will not quite (sic) until I get this accurate,” Evans wrote in an email in which he considered legal action against the site.
Evans compared his treatment on the site to his victorious primary rival, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser.
“No other candidate including Mirial Bowser (sic) who won has anything close to the trash on my page,” Evans wrote.
Evans’ Wikipedia fight kept going after LL’s first article. In late August, unhappy that Wikipedia wanted to keep references to Evans’ use of his constituent service fund to buy sports tickets, Evans challenged one rival editor to reveal his real name, “if you have the guts.”
Evans succeeded in the end, though. Much of what he wanted removed, which ranged from the less savory aspects of his mayoral campaign to strange factoids about whether his daughters had a nanny a decade ago, has been taken off the page.
But maybe the Evans on the newly polished page outshines the real-life Evans. On Aug. 24, a constituent wrote Evans complaining that he hadn’t managed to secure some alley repairs. The emailer, whose name was redacted in LL’s FOIA request, had just read Evans’ Wikipedia page.
“It said you were successful in getting all kinds of things done in D.C., like the Verizon Center,” the constituent wrote. “So why is it you can’t get this little alley done?”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery